One of the pleasant surprises in the Mets system in 2009 has been the work of AA RHP Ryan Coultas, who leads the B-Mets in IP (64.2) and in ERA (2.78) among pitchers who have called Binghamton home since Opening Day. It wasn?t supposed to be like this for Coultas, who the Mets drafted as a shortstop out of UC Davis in the 6th round in 2004. However, the 2002 DII Player of the Year hit just .243/.286/.339 over four seasons as a SS.
Then, on May 11, 2007, fortune smiled on Coultas in a Florida State League game. Bobby Parnell started for St. Lucie in Tampa, against the Yankees, but lasted just three innings. After four more relievers had come and gone, the game was tied 7-7 in the 11th, and the Mets were out of available pitchers. Coultas told his skipper that as he put it, he?d ?briefly thrown in college and could possibly be an emergency guy.? Of his first professional pitching performance, Coultas recalls, ?It was two innings. I think I walked the first guy, which was the last thing I wanted to do. ?. We ended up coming back and winning the game. I actually led off the top of the 13th ? and I singled. I remember Jose Castro doubled me home and I ended up scoring the go-ahead run and then went back out and closed it out in the bottom of the inning. It was a fun day.?
He made a strong enough impression, that after the 2007 season, Coultas abandoned shortstop to turn to pitching full-time. ?It was really a much smoother transition than I would have expected it to be,? says Coultas who got right to work in the offseason, ?I just talked with Rick Waits, and he emailed me the throwing program and Nitro, our strength guy, got in touch with me as far as the strength training program, [including] shoulder strengthening stuff.? That offseason work prepared him well for spring training 2008, when Coultas says, ?I came into spring in pretty good shape and I was able to compete and try to make a team versus going into spring as a total project.? The then 26-year old made the St. Lucie Mets out of spring training where he was 1-5 with a 4.17 ERA and led the Mets in appearances (47) and bullpen innings (69). Impressively, Coultas struck out nearly a batter an inning (61) for a K/9 of 8.0 and posted a K/BB ratio of 2.17 (61/28).